Released: 22/10/2010
Developer: Obsidian
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Format played: PC
Hours played: 137
Last played: 18/06/2012

Right, so, might as well start with my most-played Steam game. Now, I don’t want to bore you by doing a traditional review for a game that’s almost two years old that you either already own or don’t want to own (if you do want to own it, where the hell were you when The Great Steam Sale of Summer 2012 was on? Outdoors you say? OK, fine). At the same time, I’m not exactly trying to break any conventions here, I’m not known for being a boundary-pusher when it comes to writing but that may be because I’m not known for writing, full stop. Er, yeah.

I had been skeptical of Fallout: New Vegas, it was the big upcoming game when I first got into PC gaming and memories of the PS3 version of Fallout 3 were fresh in my mind; hours of exploration wasted because crashes, important NPCs dying even though I’m nowhere near them, other NPCs being stuck floating in mid-air… Plenty of game breaking glitches, basically. Then New Vegas came along, and I thought I was going to pass on it. I thought it would be a similar mess, but then I remembered that the PC version would allow you to fix such errors with the in-game console, and glitches aside, I did quite enjoy Fallout 3. So, bizarrely, I took the huge risk of buying it when it first came out. Yes, Fallout: New Vegas, a game I wasn’t sure about, was the first of very few games that I bought on Steam at full price.

The game, though, is fantastic and I promptly had to eat my words and hat. It takes what made Fallout 3 great, fixes the things that made me give up on it, simplifies the unnecessarily complicated parts (like the skills, now we have ‘Guns’ instead of ‘Big Guns’ and ‘Small Guns’ or whatever it is) and adds layers of complication of it’s own which initially do seem a little impenetrable, but they eventually click. That said I still don’t get what the different between damage reduction and damage threshold is. Anyway, new additions include:

  • Hardcore mode, which gives your character thirst, hunger and sleep gauges which need to be kept above a certain level or you’ll develop de-buffs and eventually die, kind of the same as the radiation or indeed life gauges.
  • Weapon attachments and modifications, which started life as a mod for Fallout 3 and was fleshed out in New Vegas. Things like silencers, scopes, larger magazines, lightweight frames, that sort of thing.
  • A faction system, which really should’ve replaced the karma system (which is, by and large, pointless in New Vegas). Basically if you help one faction they’ll like you and give you bonuses, other factions will hate you and want to kill you.
  • Traits, which are optional sort-of perks that give you a bonus but also balance it out by giving you an unbonus (seriously, what’s the opposite of a bonus?) at the same time, such as an increased rate of fire but with lower accuracy, or a +2 SPECIAL bonus in the day time but -2 at night, which by the way works quite well if you want to try hardcore mode.
  • An improved companion system, which uses a radial menu instead of the clunky interface in Fallout 3.
  • Challenges, such as ‘kill x amount of stuff with this weapon’

I think that’s all of the main ones. All in all, they massively improve on Fallout 3 and make the game that much better in my opinion. There are fewer glitches, to the point where I had one game-breaking glitch in New Vegas which was easily remedied with a little bit of reading and use of the in-game console, unlike Fallout 3 where I encountered many, oh so many glitches which would occasionally require me to re-play parts of the game from an old save.

One other thing, possibly the most important thing, I liked about New Vegas compared to Fallout 3 is that it let you play your character properly. In Fallout 3 you could decide to kill everyone you saw, yet the end of the game was always the same with one really minor difference which changed nothing, really. In New Vegas, although I must admit I’ve never done it, you can side with The Bad Guys and be A Bad Guy yourself, which is good because the kind of person who massacres an entire town for no reason wouldn’t exactly go and save a load of people just because he can, right?

However, the game isn’t perfect. I feel like the map isn’t quite as well-balanced as Fallout 3’s was, it seems like most of the settlements are in a sort of column down the centre of the map and there are maybe a handful outside of that group. I suspect this is to make the game appeal to more people who don’t have so much time to go walking around, it may also possibly be for pacing reasons, but whatever the reason I personally preferred Fallout 3’s world.

There are still glitches, no matter how fewer there are they do still exist. Many have been fixed but you do occasionally find one or two, which do completely shatter the immersion. One common one is to see insects, such as Radscorpions (not named for how cool they are) or Fire Ants, sort of walking vertically instead of on the ground. Not a huge deal, no, but still quite an odd thing to see in a 2010 game. I am kind of nitpicking here, in case you couldn’t tell.

Also it may be a little too easy to accumulate caps which can kind of break the game because then you stop surviving and start just, well, buying stuff you need. Towards the end, the game does get pretty easy; a high Guns skill player with an Anti-Materiel Rifle and the Hand Loader perk to make as many .50Cal Match rounds as they want can kill pretty much everything. Furthermore, certain companions are extremely overpowered to the point where you’ll tell them to stay at home so they stop stealing your kills but you still get the benefit of their perks. Minor balancing issues like that do happen but getting to the point where it becomes easy can be quite a struggle, and even when that does happen you can turn up the combat difficulty to compensate.

In closing, some say the game doesn’t do enough to improve on Fallout 3, but I can see why others say it’s a true Fallout game that builds on Fallout 3 just enough to oh-so-nearly perfect it. I was ‘new’ to the franchise with Fallout 3 (I had a shareware demo of Fallout 2 on an old beige Macintosh Performa, but I was so young that all I could think to do is shoot everyone, which is worrying) so I can’t comment on how good a Fallout game it is, not yet anyway, but it’s definitely something worth playing regardless of your history with the franchise.

TL, DR: New Vegas improves on Fallout 3 in many ways. You may not agree that the story is better and the map is probably not as good as before, but in almost every other way it’s an improvement.

Note: I have yet to play any of the DLC, expect a post detailing my thoughts on each at some point.

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Oh, the list. It’s a long one so I hope you’ve brought something more interesting to read:

  • 1000 Amps
  • AirMech (beta, I believe)
  • Alien Swarm
  • Aliens versus Predator Classic 2000
  • Aliens vs. Predator (Sega)
  • Alpha Protocol
  • Altitude
  • Amnesia: The Dark Descent
  • And Yet It Moves
  • APB Reloaded
  • Aquaria
  • Arma II
  • Arma II: Operation Arrowhead
  • Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood
  • Atom Zombie Smasher
  • Batman: Arkham City
  • Battlefield 2
  • Battlefield: Bad Company 2
  • Ben There, Dan That!
  • The Binding of Isaac
  • BioShock 2
  • BIT.TRIP BEAT
  • BIT.TRIP RUNNER
  • Blocks That Matter
  • Borderlands
  • Braid
  • Breath of Death VII
  • Brothers In Arms: Earned In Blood
  • Brothers In Arms: Hell’s Highway
  • Brothers In Arms: Road to Hill 30
  • Burnout Paradise: The Ultimate Box
  • Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood
  • Cargo! – The Quest For Gravity
  • Cave Story+
  • The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena
  • Cogs
  • Command and Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight
  • Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3
  • Commandos 2: Men of Courage
  • Commandos 3: Destination Berlin
  • Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines
  • Commandos: Beyond the Call of Duty
  • Counter-Strike: Source
  • Crayon Physics Deluxe
  • Crysis
  • Crysis Warhead
  • Crysis Wars
  • Cthulhu Saves the World
  • Darwinia
  • Day of Defeat: Source
  • DCS: Black Shark
  • Dead Island
  • Dead Space
  • Dear Esther
  • DEFCON
  • Deus Ex: Game of the Year Edition
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution – The Missing Link
  • Deus Ex: Invisible War
  • The Dig
  • Digital Combat Simulator: A-10C Warthog
  • DiRT
  • DiRT 3
  • Doom 3
  • Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil
  • Doom II: Hell on Earth
  • Dungeons of Dredmor
  • E.Y.E: Divine Cybermancy
  • Evochron Mercenary
  • F1 2011
  • Fallen Earth
  • Fallout
  • Fallout 2
  • Fallout 3 – Game of the Year Edition
  • Fallout Tactics
  • Fallout: New Vegas
  • Far Cry
  • Far Cry 2
  • Final Doom
  • Frozen Synapse
  • Galcon Fusion
  • Garry’s Mod
  • Gemini Rue
  • Gish
  • Grand Theft Auto
  • Grand Theft Auto 2
  • Grand Theft Auto III
  • Grand Theft Auto IV
  • Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
  • Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
  • Gratuitous Space Battles
  • GRID
  • Half-Life 2
  • Half-Life 2: Episode One
  • Half-Life 2: Episode Two
  • Half-Life 2: Lost Coast
  • Half-Life Deathmatch: Source
  • Half-Life: Blue Shift
  • Half-Life: Opposing Force
  • Half-Life: Source
  • Hammerfight
  • Hard Reset
  • Hitman 2: Silent Assassin
  • Hitman: Blood Money
  • Hitman: Codename 47
  • IL-2 Sturmovik: 1946
  • Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet
  • Inside a Star-filled Sky
  • Jamestown
  • Jolly Rover
  • Just Cause 2
  • Killing Floor
  • L.A. Noire
  • Left 4 Dead
  • Left 4 Dead 2
  • LIMBO
  • Lone Survivor
  • The Longest Journey
  • Lunar Flight
  • Machinarium
  • Mafia
  • Mafia II
  • Magicka
  • Mass Effect
  • Mass Effect 2
  • Master Levels for Doom II
  • Max Payne
  • Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne
  • Medal of Honor (2010)
  • Metro 2033
  • Microsoft Flight
  • Midnight Club II
  • Mirror’s Edge
  • Multiwinia
  • Myst: Masterpiece Edition
  • Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit
  • Need for Speed: Shift
  • NightSky
  • Oddworld: Abe’s Exoddus
  • Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee
  • Oddworld: Munch’s Oddysee
  • Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath
  • Offspring Fling!
  • Osmos
  • Payday: The Heist
  • The Polynomial
  • Portal
  • Portal 2
  • Psychonauts
  • Quake
  • Quake 4
  • Quake II
  • Quake II: Ground Zero
  • Quake II: The Reckoning
  • Quake III Arena
  • Quake III: Team Arena
  • Quake Mission Pack 1: Scourge of Armagon
  • Quake Mission Pack 2: Dissolution of Eternity
  • Race 07 (with almost all of the add-ons and DLC)
  • Rage
  • Really Big Sky
  • realMyst
  • Red Faction
  • Red Faction II
  • Red Faction: Armageddon
  • Red Faction: Guerrilla
  • Revenge of the Titans
  • Riven
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl
  • Saints Row: The Third
  • Sanctum
  • Shadowgrounds
  • Shadowgrounds: Survivor
  • Shank
  • Shattered Horizon
  • The Ship
  • Sniper Elite
  • Sniper Elite V2
  • SpaceChem
  • Star Wars – Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast
  • Star Wars – Jedi Knight: Mysteries of the Sith
  • Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II
  • Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy
  • Star Wars Republic Commando
  • Star Wars: Dark Forces
  • Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
  • Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
  • Steel Storm: Burning Retribution
  • Super Meat Boy
  • Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP
  • Take On Helicopters
  • Team Fortress 2
  • Terraria
  • Test Drive Unlimited 2
  • Thief: Deadly Shadows
  • Time Gentlemen, Please!
  • Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon
  • Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter 2
  • Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Desert Siege
  • Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Island Thunder
  • Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X.
  • Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X. 2
  • Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six 3: Athena Sword
  • Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six 3: Gold Edition
  • Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Vegas
  • Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Vegas 2
  • Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory
  • Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction
  • TrackMania Nations Forever
  • TRAUMA
  • Trine
  • The Ultimate Doom
  • Universe Sandbox
  • Uplink
  • Vertex Dispenser
  • The Void
  • VVVVVV
  • Waves
  • Windosill
  • Wings of Prey
  • World of Goo
  • Zombie Driver
  • Zombie Driver 2

Phew. If you think that took long to read, you didn’t write the bloody thing. But wait! There’s more!

Origin games:

  • Battlefield 3
  • Dead Space 2
  • Crysis 2
  • Need For Speed: Shift 2 Unleashed

Good Old Games (gog.com):

  • Descent
  • Descent 2
  • Descent 3
  • Freespace
  • Freespace 2
  • Shogo – Mobile Armor Division
  • Syndicate

Non-Steam indie bundle games:

  • 1893
  • DLC Quest
  • Lair of the Evildoer
  • Metal Dead
  • The Sea Will Claim Everything
  • The Shivah

Other games:

  • rFactor
  • Live For Speed
  • GT Legends
  • GTR2
  • Simraceway
  • GP Legends
  • Richard Burns Rally
  • Colin McRae Rally 04
  • Colin McRae Rally 2005
  • DiRT 2
  • Driver: San Francisco
  • Operation Flashpoint: Red River
  • Escape Velocity: Nova
  • Minecraft.

That’s it for PC games so far, I think. I’m not going to be doing these in any real order either.

Good evening.

So, an introduction is order I suppose. I’m 25 years old, mostly unemployed and currently occupying a beard. Not much else is really relevant I guess. My gaming history (the relevance of this will become apparent) has gone something like this: Mega Drive II > Playstation > Playstation 2 > Dreamcast > Playstation 3 > PC. I’ve also always had games for whatever Apple computers have been around at the time. So with that out of the way, I’ll explain what this blog is about.

First of all, the name. The ‘Gabe’ I refer to is none other than Gabriel Newell, otherwise known as ‘Gaben’. If you know who he is then you’ll understand and probably sympathise with the purpose of this blog. If you don’t know who he is then all you need to know is that his company, Valve, started up a service called Steam, which is basically the iTunes of games; you pick, you pay, you download and then you play. Or, in my case, you pick, you play, you download, then you do something else until you accumulate a massive backlog of games so daunting that you’d rather just play what you know.

And that is the point of this blog. I intend to review all of the games in my Steam library, aka ‘the huge backlog I’ve still got to play through’, and probably my gaming backlog in general (yes, the Steam effect spreads), PC or otherwise. This means playing each game for at least long enough to gain a decent understanding of what it’s really about so that I can deliver a nice, balanced review of each game to help inform and inspire some decisions, hopefully the kind of decisions that make you go ‘holy crap, this guy’s got a lot of games, I prefer money’ and thus make you decide that no, you don’t need to buy Gunman VII: The Gunnening just because it’s 90% off on that particular day.

At this point I suppose I should point out what to expect and what not to expect.

What to expect

Honest opinions. This simply means that I’m human, just like you (presumably), I will have preferences and un-preferences and I’m not immune to bias and fanboyism. However, I will try my best to maintain objectivity and I will never praise or slate a game without good reason.

Made up words, such as ‘un-preferences’.

The English English spellings of certain words, for I am indeed, English. Possibly some mild bad language too but I’ll endeavour to keep it down.

Racing sims and, to an extent, flight sims. I do enjoy both of those, even if I’m not particularly good at them.

I will probably focus more on the offline modes of most games for several reasons (the main one being a poor internet connection), but if the multiplayer is more than a token effort I will try them out and report on those too.

DLC reviews. I will mention DLC that I already own if I own it at the time of writing (and if it’s worth mentioning), otherwise I may do small posts after the fact or edit the original review if I buy the DLC shortly after posting.

Graphs, charts and diagrams; I have a degree in graphic communication where I specialised in this sort of stuff. I have none planned but you never know when I might pop one out.

Playstation and Playstation 3 games, because I still play those from time to time and actually have some I haven’t touched yet.

What not to expect

Strategy, tower defence, fantasy RPG, MMORPG, or Free to Play games. Can’t stand them, but one or two may pop up.

Punctuality. I’m not intending to post every day, but I might, it depends on what I’m playing. If a few hours is enough to get a decent idea of a game then so be it, but it may take more time than that.

Completion. I’m not planning on completing every game, I’ll play until I’m too bored to continue, until I feel I’ve had my money’s worth from a certain game or just until I feel like moving on. I generally tend to be a completionist for games I love or that I spent a lot of money on, however.

Videos. The reason I’ve not started a YouTube channel is because I don’t like talking to a computer. I may post gameplay videos and screenshots, I may not, I’ll see how I feel as time goes on.

Spoilers. I will avoid spoiling a game as best I can, if I do post anything spoilerous then I will provide adequate warning. By ‘spoiler’ I mean: anything plot related, anything that’s supposed to be a surprise, anything that I personally loved that I don’t want to ruin for anyone else.

Review scores. I don’t agree with scores for many reasons, the most important one being that they imply Game A is objectively better than/worse than/the same as Game B, regardless of genre, budget, age, features and so on. I will include a TL, DR (too long, didn’t read) version when I remember to, though, so you can still skip to the end and enjoy a brief summary. Please note: If you do at any point see anything resembling a score, it’s probably sarcastic. If not, it definitely won’t be serious.

That’ll do for now. I should probably mention that I will post reviews of games I’ve already played, just because I want to.

TL, DR: This blog consists of me reviewing the huge amount of games I’ve bought but never played. JOIN ME.